* Posts by ThatOne

2063 posts • joined 9 Oct 2017

Airbus to help build Mexican Moon-mining automata

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: What resources on the moon ...

The egg here is money: Without the egg, no chicken, i.e., there must first be a solid, guaranteed budget for Moon bases to be able to create any commercial Moon base building structure. "Build it and they will come" doesn't work here...

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: What resources on the moon ...

> If you have a base on the moon

That's a big "if" there... While we've been daydreaming about those for half a century now, AFAIK autumn 2021 there is no real money put aside to build one anytime soon, so how can you sell a business plan based on that money?

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: What resources on the moon ...

> Makes zero sense.

You beat me to it. Indeed, it only makes sense if there are budgets for Moon bases to tap into, and while there is talk about building some one day, none are yet seriously planned.

The whole project smells funny. Ad driven? To pay something as expensive as sending stuff to the Moon? Who are they kidding? Where will those billion-making ads appear anyway?

The amount of wishful/magical thinking and the total lack of technical specifications seem to indicate it's marketing-driven (the most likely explanations are money laundering or bait & switch).

As Google sets burial date for legacy Chrome Extensions, fears for ad-blockers grow

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Toy extensions won't mess with their revenue stream.

> have a browser update itself in the background

Nobody prevents you from setting it to "Check for updates but let me choose to install them". You know, in the "Settings" menu...

Amazon delivery staff 'denied bonus' pay by AI cameras misjudging their driving

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: AI driving assessment

> The denying of bonus payments to drivers who are 'cut up' by other drivers seems harsh

Why, that was the whole point of installing cameras: Reducing bonus payments using the good old "computer says".

Nothing works any more. Who decided that redundant systems should become redundant?

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: even in the world of underpants

What about "may contain traces of shellfish"?...

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: don't buy any sort of printer that uses liquid ink.

Unfortunately can only upvote once... I have at home an old Canon S900 which can eat through a set of ink cartridges after only 4-5 pages of sparse B/W text. The secret is that it always does a deep cleaning before printing (sputter, sputter), and yet another after printing (sputter, sputter)!

Never seen a more shameless waste of ink to make the idiot owner buy more!

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Chuddies (sort of)

That's the famous Schrödinger's waist problem. You only know for sure when you try them on and the wave function collapses.

Want to feel old? Aussie cyclist draws Nirvana baby in Strava on streets of Adelaide because Nevermind is 30

ThatOne Silver badge

You consider it resurrected?

I'm probably an old fogy but I consider its current state as "undead".

Don't touch that dial – the new guy just closed the application that no one is meant to close

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: As a young broadcast engineer, unschooled in IT at the time

> why was it possible to shut it down with just a click?

I know nothing of course, but I can imagine that 1. this software wasn't supposed to run on a publicly accessible computer, and 2. mission-critical stuff operated by supposedly trained crews shouldn't discuss any orders received, they should execute them immediately. There is no place or time for useless legalese/nanny crap, a mission-critical-level user is supposed to know what he's doing, else he shouldn't be there.

The problem here was that people allowed to access that computer had not the required (or apparently any) training.

Scientists took cues from helicopter seeds to invent tiny microchips that float on wind

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Bowl of petunias

> look at the amazing clean up of [...]

Remember: The key word of "selling cleanup services" is "selling", not "cleanup services"...

ThatOne Silver badge

> How does the data get from the scattered tiny sensors back to the researcher?

What data?

The point is playing with their cool "flying seed" tech, the "sensors to save the world" story is just a desperate attempt at finding money to build some.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Battery life?

Come on, devices that small and light wouldn't be able to do any useful work anyway, so what do they need power for?...

Obviously in the grant paper they will have to put something cool and shiny, like for instance "blockchain". "Powered by blockchain", that sounds pretty techy, doesn't it...

ThatOne Silver badge

Bowl of petunias

> seed-like devices [...] that could be used for environmental monitoring.

Nonsense, that is the old "think of the children!" argument. The only viable use case for this technology is the military: Have helicopters disperse tons of those micro-spies all over the countryside, making you able to monitor all enemy movement day and night. And since it will happen in some faraway land full of foreigners, who cares about the pollution. On the contrary, it allows you to sell them cleanup services later on.

Environmental monitoring doesn't require stealth dispersal of e-waste. This is yet another case of a researcher being in love with an idea and desperately trying to find some use for it.

Fukushima studies show wildlife is doing nicely without humans, thank you very much

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Fight!

> get the boars to hunt the bullfrogs?

As documented, nightmarish boars only eat young children and female reporters. (At least in Australia, YMMV.)

Hellfire and damnation: Two French monks charged over 5G mast arson attack

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: so much for helping the poor

My, do we have a lot of people working in 5G here...

Look folks, sorry to have badmouthed not praised your darling child, but it is true that poor people can't afford to rush change device just because a new standard is available in select locations where they don't live anyway. If you have proof to the contrary, step forth and be heard.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: so much for helping the poor

While I agree with the general idea, 5G isn't what the poor use. 5G is a rich peoples' gadget, poor people are happy if they can afford 4G (I'm talking about the devices).

(Didn't downvote you.)

Texas law banning platforms from social media moderation challenged in lawsuit

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Conflicted

> you have less than zero chance of getting them to understand why they are wrong

No matter what you do. Any isolated or even simply not outrageous enough voice on social media will be either ignored or just shouted down, no matter its merits.

Crowd psychology is simplistic, instinctive, and crowd intelligence is determined by the stupidest of its members. A crowd doesn't care if it clearly makes a big mistake, as long as they do it all together.

What I'm saying is you can not reach them with logic, any more than you can argue cattle out of a stampede. If you want to reach them, you'll have to reach them individually, while they still are (moderately) intelligent humans, not when they are just part of a blind social media mob.

Google emits Chrome 94 with 'Idle Detection' API to detect user inactivity amid opposition

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: can't websites already do this?

> Will my lack of participation be considered "away"?

I guess it might indeed, especially in remote working: Micromanaging sociopath managers will use this handy tool to replace breathing down your neck all day.

As a result you'll have to raise the signal/noise ratio of online meetings by constantly throwing in pointless questions and remarks, so that in the end you are not considered "absent" (with all the professional drawbacks this entails)... It's seems like a marvelous case of lose-lose situation, but you'll have to remember successful corporate management isn't about being efficient, but about looking efficient.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Would've been good to give the settings link

> probably be removed by the time you read this

Or made inactive, as in it doesn't really matter what the luser sets it to, what matters is the money we make out of it, so let them think they managed to switch it off, that will keep them out of our hair for a while.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: The last straw

Except there won't be any "monopoly" accusations and trials; If it came to this Google would just fire the current government and buy a more understanding one...

Google experiments with user-choice-defying Android search box

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Ban the Blob

> Nobody forces anyone to use their shit.

The lack of alternative does...

Apple? Just another walled garden, less greedy, but still dictating what you can use and (thus) do. If I have to chose between two evils, I at least go for the cheaper one. *shrug*

UK's Civil Aviation Authority hashing out rules for crash-proof cargo pods on drones

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Crash proof how?

> It sounds like this is mean to address what happens to the cargo

Indeed, for that's what is expensive. For damage on people/animals/propriety getting hit by a falling drone, refer to the "We take our victims' life and property very seriously..." blurb.

Seriously, if you want to make a business case for drone transport, the first thing your prospective clients will want to know is how you'll make sure their cargo won't be lost or destroyed. What you'll do about innocent people you kill is your problem, not theirs. So the only point to be addressed is to make sure the transported cargo has the highest survival chances possible, even if it means it will do extensive damage hitting whatever it falls upon.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Mid flight failure

> why it shouldn't apply to UAV flying over populated areas

Because commercial interests. Aviation guidelines were made in a more innocent time, when greed was still shamefully hidden away. Nowadays it is worn as a badge of corporate honor, a sign that one has the stuff to create great profits.

The main advantage of drones is that they are dirt cheap, so nobody will accept adding expensive safety features to them. At best they'll stick a smiley face with "So sorry we hit you..." on them.

US Congress ponders setting up permanent UFO investigation office

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Are artilects alien beings or human constructs ‽ . And are they friendlies or hostiles ‽ .

> Colonialism as practiced in the 1800's went out of fashion

It was replaced by "spheres of influence", which, while doing the same job, are much cheaper on gunships and occupation forces.

Now obviously there is the question if we can/should anthropomorphize the aliens, but as far as humans are concerned, everybody knows he's always right, so if you find a civilization which doesn't do things your way (and can't defend its particularities efficiently enough), you'll going to try to bash some sense into them. Not to mention all those people around you looking for a quick buck and seeing it: Selling their population wholesale or just siphoning off their resources is too tempting to resist. But I admit this is humans. Aliens are likely to be totally inhuman and thus altruistic and benevolent. Who knows.

3.4 billion people live within range of a mobile network but lack a device to make the connection

ThatOne Silver badge

Our world is so much more complicated...

> digital inclusivity requires

Switching off all low-cost standards and focus exclusively on brand new shiny 5G, and make sure phones become useless after a couple years so they can't be handed down. As everybody can see...

Poor people don't matter, simply because there is no money to be made out of them, and making money is what business is all about. Companies might make a token gesture to enhance their public image, but they won't go as far as to waste/lose money on it, lest the "stakeholders" drive that stake through their hearts.


What I'm trying to say is that this is an uphill and often slightly vain battle. Vain because getting unfettered Internet access to populations living in environments or cultures too different from 21th century USA can cause very high societal and cultural damage.

Also one could argue if a lot if those seemingly "backward" societies really need Facebook access, and if it will improve their lives to follow the current celebrity of some faraway land with customs and life styles so foreign it could be from another planet.

On the other hand fast and cheap communications are beneficial to all, and do help indeed, but unfortunately they don't yield much profit, so they won't be the priority. Priority will be in "value-added" services, where the main goal is profit (if not just skimming subsidies)...

Clegg on its face: Facebook turns to former UK deputy PM to fend off damaging headlines

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Incapable or unwilling?

Holding to account is the job of the accountants...

In this Facebook is no different than any other big, ruthless corporation.

Microsoft does and doesn't require VMs to meet hardware requirements for Windows 11

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: This may sound crazy, but

> Why not just launch when it's ready?

You're suggesting tech types have the power, and marketing just tags along? Heresy! OMG!

Marketing is the power which makes the (corporate) world go round, tech types are only there because, well, you need someone to do the dirty work.

This is not the tech unicorn you are looking for... and other stories

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Excuse me?

> Shirley New York City is at least marginally worse

You don't live in NY for the quality of life. Even if you live in a penthouse overlooking Central Park...

ThatOne Silver badge


> the nightmarish military/cartoon landscapes of artist Simon Stålenhag

Wow. Just wow!

Off yer bike: Apple warns motorcycles could shake iPhone cameras out of focus forever

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: dedicated GPS

> the 3 days I spent without cell service only confirmed the choice of a dedicated one

There are phone navigation apps which work offline. I always have one (CoPilot) on mine, with maps for the whole continent downloaded on the phone, no internet required. Comes handy, given it takes no space and thus is always available, especially in those situations when you didn't expect to need one...

(YMMV obviously, depending how much you're traveling and if you visit a lot of new places.)

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: You're holding it wrong!

My bike jacket is waterproof, even after 20+ years of use. Downpour grade waterproof, so my phone in the breast pocket is very well protected (necessary in this climate - lots of rain and snow). I guess it depends where you live and what you use your bike for (daily commute or just pleasure rides).

RAF chief: Our Reaper drones (sorry, SkyGuardians) stand ready to help British councils

ThatOne Silver badge

> And why wouldn't you just use a much smaller camera drone

Prestige: You need to show you clearly and beyond dispute have a bigger one...

Just like with cars.

Says the guy driving a SUV...

Dozy ISS cosmonauts woken by smoke alarm on eve of 5-hour spacewalk

ThatOne Silver badge

Sailors fear fire more than bad weather, for the same reasons: Nowhere to go if your vessel is on fire. Obviously it's even worse when instead of ice cold water you're surrounded by deadly vacuum.

Fire alarm on the ISS must be terrifying.

McDonald's email blunder broadcasts database creds to comedy competition winners

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: That other issue

> My assumption is that beancounters calculate that the cost of those disgruntled punters taking away their business is less than running a decent customer service department

Definitely. Also the crowd has a very short memory (days). So no matter what you do to them, they will quickly forget and you can catch them back with your next advertising campaign. No harm done.

Also agree about contact information: Companies indeed don't want to be bothered, so they create this obstacle course to hide the fact there is no way for the masses to contact them. They consider that anybody who really has to contact them already has the required contact information, the rest is just annoying background noise...

Why tell the doctor where it hurts, when you could use emoji instead?

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Intelligibility fail

> appears as a black square on my phone

You obviously need to buy a new phone: Healthy people have the newest [model you clearly don't have].

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: History repeats itself

> Now, if you'd gone with Chinese, or Mayan, or (etc ad nauseum) you'd have had a point.

Sorry, can't determine who you're talking to. If it was me, I wrote "hieroglyphs" meaning "pictographic logograph", because I didn't expect everybody around to know what a "logograph" is, but everybody is bound to know what hieroglyphs are (i.e. pictures meaning words).

It is true that logographies are impossible to use as such alone, sooner or later you need to encode more abstract notions like sounds for which there is no possible image. Mayan glyphs also occasionally encoded syllables. And at some point in the distant future, emojis will start encoding syllables too...

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: History repeats itself

> Why pictorial?

Because they don't expect their potential clients to have mastered reading.

No, this isn't a quip, sadly, accessibility to illiterate people is the main argument for the ever increasing use of pictograms instead of written language. And since more and more people are illiterate (to some extent)...

ThatOne Silver badge

History repeats itself

So we're heading back to hieroglyphs... The writing was on the wall for some time.

Sure, it is easier to understand the picture of a duck than to remember what the abstract symbols "d"+"u"+"c"+"k" might mean, it also goes with the general dumbing-down simplification of peoples' though processes. With an emoji language you can't convey complex thoughts, and simple "eat"-"LOL"-"heart!" people are easier to manipulate keep happy.

Academics tell UK lords that folk aren't keen on predictive policing, facial recognition, heightened surveillance

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Magical thinking

Isn't that the same thing?

ThatOne Silver badge

Magical thinking

> predictive policing, facial recognition, heightened surveillance

OMG, they're still looking for the magical formula which will allow to easily and effortlessly bag all (potential) criminals...

Not so long ago it was the shape of your skull that told the cops if you were a god-fearing honest citizen or a devious criminal. Of course this didn't actually work, so it was eventually abandoned, but not before having wreaked havoc on many innocent lives.

What a chance computer have been invented, allowing us to make errors even faster now.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Me....or Peter Thiel?

> who's the real criminal? Is it really me?

Of course it's you. By "you" we mean yourself or one of the million other peons around you, you all look alike to us: Countless, filthy, unreliable, useless, annoying critters. One only needs so many gardeners, chauffeurs, housekeepers, maids and janitors. The rest of you is not only utterly useless, but also and above all a potential danger.

Report details how Airbus pilots saved the day when all three flight computers failed on landing

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: "Anyone who can't slide a 4 wheel vehicle through a gap ..., shouldn't be on the road."

> There is no such survey. It's an old joke.

That might be, but it's still true. It's funny specifically because it's true*...

* "asked to rank their teeth brushing skills, 93% of [people] said they were better than average" is not funny.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: AI

> it's "ok" for a humans to make lots of mistakes, but where there is a lot less acceptance if computers also make them

Indeed. To err is human, that's established, on the other hand computers are supposed not to make mistakes, that's their whole point. A machine which randomly does not accomplish the task it was built for is considered broken, be it a fridge or a flight computer.

Now a flight computer is indeed supposed to catch bad pilot decisions and generally take most of the load off them - But that task requires it to be irreproachable and faultless. Human pilots supposed to rely on it should never find themselves in a (usually emergency) situation where they have to wonder about the computer's decisions.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: "Anyone who can't slide a 4 wheel vehicle through a gap ..., shouldn't be on the road."

> 93% of the Americans said they were better than average

...and 7% were too modest to admit it.

Everybody (especially men) thinks he's a better driver than most, even some quite appalling drivers I know. Mostly pride and self-esteem, but then again they often see other people doing stupid things they wouldn't, and that reinforces their belief they are "above average": There is always somebody worse than you.

Yes, I think I'm an above average driver. Why do you ask?...

Astronomers detect burps of interstellar cannibal from 480 million light years away

ThatOne Silver badge

> the nuclear processes would have to oppose that direction to oppose that motion. How does that work?

Those "nuclear processes" are basically a thermonuclear explosion (think H bomb). How does an explosion know in which direction to explode? Well, it doesn't, it just explodes, and stuff flies the only direction possible, outwards (i.e. away from the center).

You can think of the process inside a sun as being a humongous thermonuclear explosion: A sun is a huge H bomb, continuously exploding as long as it has explosives fuel to burn. Now the star's huge gravity tries to counteract the explosion's "outwards flying" motion, till they reach an equilibrium which determines the apparent diameter of a sun (and explains why this diameter isn't always constant).

You can think of a "supernova" as a perturbation in that equilibrium: In the classical single-star case, fuel starts running out, so the "explosion" weakens, and gravity wins out, compressing the star even more (it gets smaller). This compression allows other, previously inert elements to start fusing (exploding), and that new explosion is so violent it beats gravity and manages to spill the stars innards all over the neighborhood. That's a supernova.

Obviously astrophysicists will howl, but this is indeed the simplified, layman version on why stars go "boom" when older...

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: I wonder how many civilizations ended?

> if any of them made it out "by the skin of their teeth"?

Remember this is actually the second supernova in this system. They would have to leave before the first supernova, a long time ago, making it no different than any other star death. By the time this giant-compact merger happens, they've either already left, or it doesn't really matter anymore.

Note giants are (relatively) short-lived, and I can imagine close giant binary suns are not the cosiest place to raise a planet and allow it to live long enough in the habitable zone: Planets around binaries usually orbit a specific sun, which would be quite difficult if the suns are relatively close to each other. As for planets orbiting the gravitational center of both suns, they would be quite far away and extremely likely to get ejected. I don't think there were any higher life forms in that system.

ProtonMail deletes 'we don't log your IP' boast from website after French climate activist reportedly arrested

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Just curious...

> and even fathered children on their targets

That's the best part of the job!

Glasgow firm fined £150k after half a million nuisance calls, spoofing phone number, using false trading names

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Usual dissolve company start a new one

Sure, and that's precisely the problem. If is wasn't that easy and without risk, nobody would do it.

ThatOne Silver badge

Re: Peanuts

> £150K for 500K calls is 30p per call. That's not a lot

It doesn't really matter, does it. It could be £1 or £150 billion - they won't pay it anyway.


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021